David Dodd over at Print CEO turned Doc on to an interesting survey (which is free upon a quick registration process) that draws some surprising (at least to Doc) conclusions about the effectiveness of various marketing vehicles. The survey is from a content strategy firm named Ecollo Media, and is well-done and comprehensive, even if slightly pro white paper (one of the services Ecollo provides).
The 2010 survey was conducted in June and included responses from both senior business executives and technology managers and specialists. The Eccolo Media survey was limited to technology buyers, but the findings provide valuable insights regarding the attitudes and practices of other types of B2B buyers who purchase complex products and services. Here are some of the key findings from the 2010 survey.
- White papers have the greatest influence on purchasing decisions. Thirty-nine percent of survey respondents ranked white papers as the most influential type of marketing collateral for evaluating purchase decisions. Brochures (28%) and case studies (18%) followed white papers in terms of influence.
- Brochures, white papers, and case studies are the most frequently used types of marketing collateral. Eighty-three percent of respondents said they had used brochures within the previous six months to evaluate a prospective purchase, while 76% identified white papers, and 67% identified case studies.
- The most important distribution channel for marketing collateral materials is the company Website. Seventy-one percent of respondents said they find white papers at supplier Websites, 65% obtain brochures from company Websites, and 56% acquire case studies through that channel. The second most important distribution channel for white papers is outbound direct response campaigns, with 59% of respondents indicating they had obtained white papers via such campaigns.
- Potential buyers use marketing collateral early in the buying process. The majority of respondents said they review marketing collateral for the first time during the "pre-sale" stage of the buying process when they are beginning to consider solutions and before they initiate discussions with potential suppliers. Sixty percent of respondents said they first review brochures during the pre-sale stage, 53% first read white papers during that stage, and 49% first read case studies during that stage.
Some pretty interesting stuff. The full report is well worth the time to download and survey – there are lots of clean graphics to convey the information and good summaries.